"Dont buy gear, buy plane tickets" Yvon Chouinard

 Yvon Chouinard 

The day I left on my once-in-a-life time adventure was a day I had dreamed about since being a kid.
I couldn't imagine anything more exciting than to be on the road - a road that could lead around the world - and I fantasized about the moment when I could finally begin.
In reality though, when the day finally came, it didn't feel so special.

I woke up at a friends house and ran home to finish packing. I needed a shower to wash away last nights beers and the clammy panic that was cooking, but no time, I had a train to catch.
Even after all those years of preparing, I still wasn't ready.

Later on, I stood with a friend on the windy deck of a P&O ferry and we cast off from Hull, England. The grey car parks and white cliffs shrunk away and I told myself that this was the big moment, and I felt nothing, almost numb.

We turned to the bar too often that night and in the end one of us hurled a gallon of cider over the side into the dark waves below, the sea wind spraying vomit all down the deck.
The morning came and it was all too early. An alarm sang its fourth and final call in our cabin and we roused among the panniers like trampled dandelions. The ferry was empty and the ship hands slow clapped us down the ramp in 'about-time' irony, we winced a sorry smile through a heavy head. The first of a million pedals and still, I felt nothing more than an ordinary hangover.

I'd been waiting for this moment for years, but why had I been waiting? My life had been paused, banking on an imaginary moment in a fantasy future when I was braver than now. When I had money and experience and muscles and a nice tan. But when I finally climbed on the bike in Belgium with thousands of lone miles to travel, I still felt like the same young lad as ever.

What lead me to that first and most necessary day wasn't one big life changing decision when everything became clear and everything changed. It was many, tiny daily decisions that edged me towards that start line.
First, I made some money. Time passed and a hundred pounds grew to five hundred and soon I was staring at a thousand pounds and as the pile grew, so did a belief that this could actually happen.
I chose a branded tent from a proper camping shop and committed to a fancy light weight stove. The tent snapped one chilly night in Turkey and I never once got the stove to work properly.
So somewhere in Turkey I found a nice roomy tent for seven dollars that served me for six months across Africa and before I had even considered the option, a friend asked me - "so, do you cook on fires?" I looked back with a thinking eyebrow - "that's a good idea".
I had never travelled before and hadn't ever cycled further than a few miles to work and back and of course, rightly so, I got some worried looks off friends and family - 'maybe you should try something shorter?' Some simply laughed in my face.

But none of that mattered, I had everything I needed: A will to see the world.
The only missing part was the nerve to begin it, without it, there would be nothing.

So go with what you've got, go if you're ready or not and go now before you think too much about it.
Trust yourself - you will handle it - when your out on the road alone, youll have to.


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